I'm talking about the liar loan, a line of credit based on smiling assertions without a shred of proof--the practice that helped flatten the mortgage market and gut the U.S. economy. This time around, though, the Governor was manipulating the truth not to score some jumbo re-fi deal (after all this is a man who could buy the White House outright), but to gain access to the U.S. Treasury and all the mechanisms of American fiscal and monetary policy. The loan he's looking for would be a four-to-eight-year instrument--one that would allow the nation's wealthiest Goldman Sachs-types to resume the looting of America that came to a screeching halt (or at least slowed dramatically) when President Obama took office.
Governor Romney's performance at Wednesday night's debate was solid. The pundits (even the true believers at MSNBC) said he won. The polls were a mixed bag. But it doesn't matter, really. What does matter is the extreme makeover Romney pulled off in the blink of an eye. Gone was the right-wing rabble-rouser who dissed 47% of the country. Gone was the Wall Street darling who promised to gut consumer protections and give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest among us. The new, politically improved Mitt Romney leveled a condescending gaze at the president and morphed into a pro-business, anti-Muppet moderate.
What are we to make of the fact that within 24 hours of the debate, the Governor told Fox News he had been "completely wrong" about that 47% comment in the video exposed by Mother Jones--you know, the one for which he refused to apologize two weeks ago? How should we read the fact that, in the time it takes for a hummingbird to flap its wings, Romney disowned his cronyistic $5 trillion tax cut for his friends and colleagues? The retooled Romney who showed up at the debate was suddenly passionate about regulating big business--and even claimed that a nouveau "Romneycare" would, lo and behold, cover pre-existing conditions. His campaign later said Romney had misspoken on this last point; still, it's amazing they didn't just shoot him with a tranquilizer gun as they watched him disavow the GOP platform, plank by plank, in the course of his supposed "big win."
Governor Romney's debate appearance was a classic bait-and-switch. For a riveting ninety minutes, he dangled the bait of moderation--vague, smiling words about business-friendly regulation and blue-sky economic recovery, unburdened by any indication of how he would get it done. Not the worst way to divert attention from everything he's said over the past few years to clinch the Republican Party's nomination--a list that includes aggressive deregulation of Wall Street, tax cuts for the wealthiest few, and cuts and privatization for the programs upon which millions of Americans depend, such as Social Security and Medicare. And, of course, the deficit's linchpin: Sesame Street.
Which brings us to the switch--the scam that could make this the biggest liar loan America has ever seen.
Also referred to as no-document or stated-income loans, liar loans were mortgages in which borrowers promised to tell the truth about how much they earned and owed.